15 Now-You-Know Facts That Jacked Up Our Brains
"It is a well-known fact that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter is π, so let us consider the question as to why we should believe in Pi as being anything more than 3.14. This question is based on one of the earliest recorded philosophical arguments known as Plato’s Euthyphro. It is the first recorded instance where one man asks another to prove a proposition by reason. Socrates and the Sophists used this form of reasoning as the basis of much of their teachings.
The Sophists were teachers and philosophers of Greek antiquity who taught that people are not born with certain ideas about reality but learn the correct way of thinking by following the path of rational debate (see The Socratic method). The Sophist philosophy was considered an extension of Plato's ideal republic, and Socrates' goal was to train men for positions of government. The Sophists did not believe that knowledge and wisdom were absolute or unchangeable, and so it made no sense to argue in this way when seeking to persuade an opponent."
... And that, very roughly, is what the 1897 discussion of the value of pi in the Indiana state legislature probably sounded like. Read on: